Sponsored by Okanagan College
One of the ongoing programs the Revelstoke Centre of Okanagan College is proud to continuously offer is the Volunteer Literacy Tutoring program. Melissa Jameson, a resident of Revelstoke since 2007 whom some may recognize from her work at Community Connections, or more recently the civic affairs reporter for the Revelstoke Mountaineer, has been the volunteer coordinator for the program since October 2022. Jameson has been struggling to match several learners with tutors and wonders if there is a misconception about what the tutor position is.
“When people hear tutor, they may be thinking about academic subjects people struggle with like calculus or physics, so they think they are not qualified to tutor. In fact, the type of learners that are looking to be matched typically require support at a much more fundamental literacy level consistent with what most people use in their everyday lives or could easily brush up on.”
Jameson explains that this is because rather than academic learners that need high level support learners are often part of more marginalized communities. They also have a diverse range of learning goals that people may not be aware of. For example, there are learners waiting for tutors right now ranging from a newcomer from Quebec that would like to practice English, a young person with static brain injury that wants help studying for their drivers test as well as support around money math, and finally a learner with an intellectual disability seeking support in basic math and reading.
“Really the skillset required is much more in line with that of a social support worker than of an academic nature. That was one of the things that attracted me to the position originally is that I could see myself using my experience in the social sector to understand complex and diverse needs and the instincts to make good matches between tutors and learners.”
Potential volunteers can be reassured that there is a great deal of thought put into the right fit between learners so that the experience is positive for both the learner and the tutor. “There are considerations about different demographics like age, gender, and level of experience or training working with people of those potentially marginalized communities. It’s important to us to make the right match.”
Jameson is hopeful she sees a renewed interest in the program from the community in the coming years. “It is an important program that has the potential to really lift learners up and gives them more confidence in achieving their goals and participating in our community. Some pairs stay together for years, and the relationship can develop into something quite meaningful for both.”
For more information call 250-837-4235, or visit the Okanagan College Volunteer Literacy Tutoring program webpage for more information and contacts.